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Why do our favorite drinks taste so good? Well most people today would contribute that to the sugar concentration in the liquids that we drink. Many people today have tried to cut back on the sugar that they drink, but how much sugar really is in our favorite liquids. Well did you know that you can get the approximate sugar concentration of a clear liquid with just a laser pointer, a hollow triangular prism, and a bit of math. This project follows the laws of refraction and in the project you will use the physics of refraction to find the sugar concentration.
Firstly what is refraction, refraction is a phenomenon of light, radio waves, etc. being deflected or passing through a medium or through a medium with a different density. In the project the hollow prism itself will act as the medium that the lazer will be passing through, which follows Snell’s law which is a formula that is used to describe the relationship between the angles of incidence and refraction. Which in equation form looks like “n1 sin ?1= n2 sin ?2 which tells us the greater difference between two indices of refraction of the two materials.” In the equation n1 which represent the index of refraction of material 1. Another part of the equation ?1 which represents the angle of incidence as well as the part n2 which represent the index of refraction of material 2. While the final part of the equation ?2 which represents the angle of refraction. When you shine a laser through the empty prism the laser will come out a straight line since there is no liquid. Thought when you put the distilled water in the prim then the water will refract the laser. And the more sugar that is dissolved will increase the density of the liquid cause the the refraction of the laser to be different.
So to start off the procedure, you’ll need the laser pointer and prism mentioned earlier. Start by laying the laser pointer on the table, where its beam is perpendicular to a nearby wall. Then lay the laser pointer in front of the laser pointer. Make sure to take it securely to the table, as it will be used to mark where the laser beam enters and exits the prism. Place the prism on the paper a few centimeters in front of the laser. One of the prism’s triangular faces should be lying on the paper. Use a pencil to trace around that face. Adjust the height of the laser pointer using small pieces of cardboard until its beam hits about halfway up the side of the prism. Then tape the cardboard to the table and the laser pointer to the cardboard. Make sure both are taped firmly, unmoving to the table, or else the measurements will be inaccurate. (If you have multiple pieces of cardboard, tape them together as well.) Now take a big piece of paper and tape it to the wall in front of the laser pointer. You will use this to mark where the beam hits the wall. “To measure the angle of minimum deviation, ?md, which you will use to calculate the index of refraction of the liquids that you test, you need to mark several points and measure the distances between some of these points. Figure 9, is a more detailed view of the prism and wall. It shows all the points you need to mark in order to measure the angle of minimum deviation, ?md. The procedure below explains how to mark these points and determine the angle of minimum deviation, ?md.” When this is done, make sure its empty, filled only with air. If done right, the prism should not divert the beam. Next, mark where the beam enters on the paper the prism is sitting on. Turn off the laser and fill the prism with distilled water. If you moved the prism to fill it, move it back to its spot. Turn the laser back on.
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